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While in Tokyo we attended the Lightweight Language Future conference. Talks were given by Larry Wall, the inventor of Perl, and
Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto, the inventor of Ruby. Larry's talk on Perl 6 was very interesting. I didn't realize Perl 6 was so flexible as to almost be a meta-language. I've never been a fan of Perl but I have to admit, Perl 6 has some really nice features. Larry covered language dialects and
DSLs (domain specific languages.) I've always been interested in the idea of language dialects and language oriented programming. After the talk they opened up the floor for one question. I had a number of language related questions I wanted to ask, but I decided not to be the jerky American that took up the one question slot at a Japanese conference. A guy two rows in front of me raised his hand and asked if migrating from Perl 5 to Perl 6 was hard. I was overcome with murderous feelings. I would have paid $100 to give that guy a 15 minute noogie. ASK GOOGLE! Mika told me to do my breathing exercises. One of the sessions was titled "The 100 Years Language". The discussion centered around what the most popular programming language would look like 100 years from now. The panel members included Larry, Matz and several prominent Japanese computer scientists. Some of the ideas put forward were visual languages, narrative explanations in plain English, and neural interfaces to the computer. Larry said a 100 years was too far out to make meaningful assumptions but he was certain the next batch of popular programming languages would include embedded DSLs and be accessible to novices while providing advanced features for experts. Matz said programming wouldn't exist as we know it. He
blogged (Japanese only) about his opinions after the conference. After this session they allowed two questions. This time I raised my hand but wasn't selected. The first person picked gave a lecture rather than asking a question. The second said "I didn't hear the word 'security' once during this talk" and then stared at the panel waiting for them to be impressed by his statement. Larry said "Thats a concern of the runtime environment and API." and the session was closed. Two more 15 minute noogies please!
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Comment by Mika Leuck on May 10, 2009 at 11:16am
Did you know that the code name Rakudo comes from "Rakuda-do" which means the way of the camel?
Comment by Toru Hisai on May 6, 2009 at 9:55pm
Thank you for sharing!

Recently I have installed Perl6 (Rakudo) onto my PC and subscribed Perl6 developers mailing list. I haven't tried to write Perl6 scripts yet, but the syntax looks interesting:) I think meta programing and generic programing will be more important.

I created the Honolulu Perl Mongers. There is no activity yet :( but I would like to have some tech event like Shibuya.pm TechTalks someday.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on September 8, 2008 at 8:40pm
There are only a few fundamental design choices, language designers simply recombine them over and over in slightly different ways with slightly different syntax
True, but I think there have been a lot of incremental improvements in terms of elegance, clarity, efficiency of expression, etc. For example, I've never seen query capabilities integrated into a general purpose language as elegantly as LINQ in C# 3. Don't you think Fortress represented a leap forward in terms of the ease of expressing mathematical constructs? I also really like the new crop of languages and tools that provide a standard method for creating dialects or complete DSLs that are embedded in blocks within a general purpose language. Pat toyed with the idea of doing this in beanshell. The idea was to specify the dialect in an annotation at the method level. That way you could create methods that used regex friendly languages for text processing and query friendly languages for DB work all fully understood by the interpreter. Martin Fowler wrote a great article on this subject. He also wrote an article about Sergey Dmitriev's Meta Programming System. MPS seems very promising but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much activity lately.

Maybe in 100 years we'll have "Project Programming Language", where a bunch of geeks have 7 days to invent a new programming language made out of recycled wikipedia articles. :)
ROFL. I'm in!
Comment by Philip Johnson on September 8, 2008 at 7:42pm
Perhaps in a hundred years we'll have found out that programming languages are more like fashion than science. There are only a few fundamental design choices, language designers simply recombine them over and over in slightly different ways with slightly different syntax, and the public (i.e. programmers) jump ship because, well, it's NEW.

This is not my idea, it's been around for quite a while: Greenspun's Tenth Rule.

Philip

p.s. Not to say that trying new languages isn't fun. I enjoy checking out new programming languages, just like many people like checking out the latest fashions. In fact, my favorite guilty pleasure of the moment is Project Runway. Maybe in 100 years we'll have "Project Programming Language", where a bunch of geeks have 7 days to invent a new programming language made out of recycled wikipedia articles. :)

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